Raymond is widely acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. His exquisite cooking has received tributes from every national and international guide to culinary excellence.
He arrived in England in 1972 to work as a waiter at the Rose Revived Restaurant near Witney. When the chef became ill, he took over and two years later, the restaurant gained entry into the Michelin Guide. At the age of just 28, Raymond Blanc opened his first restaurant, ‘Les Quat’ Saisons’ in Summertown, Oxford. After just one year, the restaurant was named Egon Ronay Restaurant of the Year and a host of other accolades including Michelin Stars and Pestle & Mortar awards followed.
In 1981, Blanc opened a chain of boulangeries and pâtisseries called Maison Blanc that also contain cafès. There are currently 14 branches of Maison Blanc across the country, including several in London and one in Oxford. Maison Blanc cakes are now available nationwide in Waitrose.
It was in 1984, however, that he fulfilled a personal vision, creating an hotel and restaurant in harmony when he opened Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Great Milton, Oxford. Le Manoir is the only country house hotel in the UK which has achieved two Michelin Stars for a total of 16 years and sustained the Relais and Chateaux Purple Shield.
Raymond Blanc has made numerous appearances on all major television stations, during prime time viewing, in Great Britain. These include his own series Food & Drink in 1987, Take Six Cooks in 1986 and Masterchef in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995 & 1998 as well as ‘The Restaurant’, a BBC 2 series hosted by Raymond where nine couples compete to win their own restaurant.
In 1996, the first Le Petit Blanc brasserie opened in Oxford. Raymond’s aim was to be the best within the brasserie scene in England – serving good quality, freshly prepared food at a price that was accessible and represented excellent value. Subsequently, a second Le Petit Blanc opened in Cheltenham in February 1998, and a third opened in Birmingham September 1999. The fourth brasserie opened in Manchester in November 2000. They are the only brasseries in the United Kingdom that have achieved the Michelin Bib Gourmand.
He is also one of the patrons on the Children’s Food Festival, which was held on the Northmoor Trust Estate in south Oxfordshire in June 2009.
Raymond Blanc has advised supermarkets and airlines, written several books and is the driving force behind The Restaurant TV series. An established Anglophile, he has also contributed to public debate on British beef, organic farming and GM foods. He is a passionate, entertaining and inspiring speaker.